Carillion forced to close piling division

Aaron Morby 12 years ago

Carillion has been forced to shut down its piling business in the face of sustained suicide bidding in the market.

It joins a growing list of firms to be driven out of the sinking sector as rivals desperately buy work to keep piling rigs busy.

A source told the Enquirer: “Everybody was told yesterday that it is all over. Details of exactly what will happen now need to be explained but it looks like that is it for the staff.”

Carillion Piling employs around 65 staff who face redundancy unless they can be relocated within the group.

Carillion Group was unavailable for comment on the decision to close down the long-established piling company.

Signs of serious cracks in the piling market started to emerge at the start of the year when May Gurney decided to sell up and get out of piling. It was followed soon after by Morgan Sindall.

One rival said: “In a way it looks like the industry is restructuring to reduce capacity, but often as was the case with May Gurney somebody comes along, buys the plant and sets up.

“Everybody has reduced costs and staff. Back in 2008, we all thought we could weather it out for a year or so and it would come right, but things never got much better.”

He added: There just isn’t much work out there. Most of the Crossrail piling work is complete and there just  aren’t the projects. It’s no surprise Carillion finally called it a day.”

Carillion Piling traces its roots back over 150 years and was established by John Mowlem.

In 1996 it was formally named John Mowlem Piling and Foundations and started to handle large scale construction projects, at the time expanding into diaphragm walling and marine engineering.

This put it at the forefront of land reclamation and docklands development.

In 1999  it jumped in scale again buying Taylor Woodrow’s piling plant and went on to complete several large projects before being bought by Carillion five years ago.

The number of majors now boasting in-house piling capacity is down to Balfour Beatty, Skanska, Laing O’Rouke and Galliford Try.

Soletanche Bachy, which trades as part of the French-owned Vinci Group, helped to consolidate the UK market when independent piling impressario Roger Bullivant decided the time had come to sell up a few months ago.

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